Previously I attempted to low carb via Atkins and was met with minimal results. YES, the food was good, YES I counted my carbs...mostly diligently, but I shed only a few pounds then stopped. So, like with so many other diets I gave up. And in giving up I realized just how much my stomach REALLY LIKES eating lower carbs. Yes, I went back to some of my previous obsessions (sourdough bread anybody) but I started to feel like crap again, joints aching, belly in tremendous distress for no apparent reason, feeling run down...
Naturally, being the astute and observant person that I am....I didn't link to two together. Rather, I continued to be in denial and went about my way eating the crap I wanted and suffering. It took my mom suggesting we try to low carb again in prep for HER upcoming gastric by-pass surgery to get my started. I really want to do the surgery myself, for a number of reasons, one being I'vd had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) for as long as I've had depresssion and I don't want to borrow more trouble for my stomach by adding a whole new mix of potential pain causers. The other is, I'm 31. I've already had a hysterectomy and I'd like to leave my body alone for a while.
But I need to start treating it better. Like I love it. Like it's a precious gift from the Goddess/God and something to be cherished. Because it IS. I just have forgotten that in the evils of a depressive mind.
So, back to Atkins I went. This time, I'm doing it BY THE BOOK. Which means...I keep my measuring cups handy. I limit my intake of sweetners. I DRINK WATER. I added in excercise. The results? Three weeks and 17 pounds gone. That may seem like a HUGE amount but really, it's not. I still have well over..ahem...100 pounds to loose. Really, I'm that big a girl, but you weren't shocked were you? Big girls blog too!
I decided to share some of my newly learned Atkins tips, since it's not exactly the worlds easiest diet to follow. Hopefully they'll help somebody else who is going for the low carb solution:
1. Find substitutes you can live with. I am a coffee lover. Dr. Atkins strongly frowns upon caffeine because it can cause a raise in your blood sugar, even without cream or sugar. Decaf is acceptable but I find I can't stand the taste of coffee with sweetner. And I can't drink it black, (IBS belly...heartburn....I just can't). So I kept playing around and finally I came up with tea as my alternative. Black tea (it's not decaf but it's lower in caffeine...) with REAL CREAM and stevia. Tea doesn't seem to have so much of an aftertaste with the stevia like coffee does and it's a warm, comforting and "coffee" like hot beverage that meets my emotional need for a cup o' joe.
2. If you can have it, HAVE IT. I love cheese. I mean, LOVE it. I could spend hours in the cheese shop, fondling the brie, sniffing the gorganzola and getting starry eyed over the stiltons. Fortunately for me, cheese is perfectly acceptable on Atkins. Yes, in limited quantities during induction but the quantities are plenty! Trust me, my cheese addiction/love is quite happy with three 1oz portions a day! This is my treat, a bit of cheese on my salad, a slice for a snack with veggies, a bit shredded on my eggs. This helps me to be happy with this diet and oddly enough, cheese does not throw my stomach into fits of rage like it does on a sandwhich. Which makes me think it was the BREAD and not the cheese that my belly would react to....a gluten intolerance, not a lactose one. But this isn't limted to cheeses. Butter is allowed and encouraged, so use some to cook your meat in, along with a bit of olive oil. Mayo is groovy so scoop a bit into your salad with tuna fish and onion. Avocados are fine even during induction so have a half of one with salt. Trust me, you can indulge in all these things and you will STILL LOOSE WEIGHT, if you are doing it correctly. At least, I am. And the odd thing is, I track my carbs on Fitday.com and find that my calorie intake for each day is at the reccomended 1200-2000 kcal/day level. Yes my fat/protein/carb ratios are different from a good 'ol ADA diet, but that's the idea.
3. Water water water. Nobody wants to drink it plain but everybody should. Add some lemon and drink up baby, it's important! I like mine iced super cold and I find that drinking with a straw helps me to drink more. This is because I have sensetive teeth. A small trick but a HUGE one. Just switching to using a straw had me increasing my water intake by three.
4. KEEP SNACKS ON HAND. I can't stress enough how important having something to grab is! Cut up veggies ready to eat! Have cheese sliced! Have eggs boiled and/or deviled! Keep jell-o made up! If you don't do this, you'll grab the bag of cookies somebody bought "for the kids" and that'll be the end of your ketosis as you know it. Don't cave! Reach for your pre-made snack pack and enjoy! I really like jell-o mixed with a dollop of cream. Or hot chai tea in the evening (Decaf in this case). Pork rinds and a bit of ranch dressing make a nice "popcorn" alternative. (I'm a popcorn addict...that was a hard one to give up!) My mom tried making "cheese crackers" by frying up slices of cheese in a non-stick skillet. They were...interesting, but I'll stick to plain ol' lovely cheese. GOOD cheese too, for me it's worth it. But if you're not particular, keep some string cheese sticks on hand!
5. Start in with veggies and keep them spread out throughout the day. According to Dr. Atkins in his book (not the new one written after his death), you're allowed 2-3 cups of salad veggies and 1 cup of other approved veggies a day. This is actually a LOT of vegetables when you really look at it. More than you'd think. More than likely most of us eat in a day. I find that I feel better if I spread the veggies out. This keeps my carb intake (since most of the carbs you're eating come from veggies, if you're following the plan correctly). So I start the morning by slipping some into my eggs or served on the side. It doesn't have to be a lot. Today I scrambled two eggs with 1/4 cup of leftover spinach and 2 tbsp of parmesean cheese. Lunch nearly everday has been a salad of some variety, with tuna or leftover steak or chicken on top. Snack on pepper slices with cheese. Dinner with cauliflower (cheese sauce acceptable if you really don't like cauliflower!) or steamed brussel sprouts. Or roasted brussel sprouts cooked in bacon grease before hand. Now that's one to try! Very very tasty!
All this being said, there are still times that are hard. I can't tell you how much my sense of smell is suddenly tuned into CHOCOLATE. My son will be in another room, having a reeses cup and I can smell it. But I have to keep reminding myself that it's TOXIC for me, the sugar in excess, the wheat, the bad carbs. They cause me pain, they cause me humilation. I can't continue to be a slave to them. I have to keep at this or I will be, ballooning out even more in weight until I die, likely from a heart attack or stroke or diabetic complication. I can't and WON'T let myself live my life that way. It ends here and now!